Fri 10 Dec 2021 to Sat 15 Jan 2022
Artist: Arturo Kameya
GRIMM presents Arturo Kameya: En esa pulga se mezcla nuestra sangre / In that flea, our blood mixes, the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.
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The exhibition includes new works that expand beyond the narratives explored in the artist’s multimedia presentation currently on view in Soft Water Hard Stone, the New Museum Triennial. On the occasion of this exhibition, GRIMM has released a fully-illustrated publication that surveys the artist’s practice and career to date.
Kameya’s work examines the plasticity of history, revisiting events and narratives through perspectives that are at times contradictory, and through the lens of the personal memories of his upbringing in Lima, Peru. The works in the exhibition reflect upon the ever-fluctuating margins within Lima’s urban middle class community: its aspirations and disappointments, debts and misfortunes, religions and superstitions, farewells and resignations. The title of the exhibition is inspired by the poem The Flea by the 17th century poet John Donne which reads:
It sucked me at first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be
The exhibition includes works that depict memories of the artist’s childhood home that are recreated with superstitious undercurrents, taking inspiration from diverse sources of his personal archive: family photos, press images, e-commerce sites and more. Various paintings include domestic rituals that feature a Youtube tutorial of a cleansing practice, a tabletop set-up to assist the dead in “crossing over,” and reinterpretations of his family’s furniture topped with offerings of alcohol, souvenirs, medicine and flowers.
Kameya debuts three paintings in a new series that explore local commercial products borne out of various superstitions. The products chosen for the works are based on cleansing formulas, available in small shops or online, and the images depicted are reinterpretations of Tarot iconography and cleansing bottle labels. Three works from this series are on view as a nod to the popular phrase Salud, dinero y amor.
The varied motifs explored in the exhibition are encapsulated in the work Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, but dogs just want to go to outer space (2021). The painting depicts a New Year’s lore, in which people set fire to their old belongings to bid farewell to the year that has just passed. The title refers to aspirational desires that differ in each stage of life, that die little by little throughout each year, only to be revived at the beginning of every new year.
Courtesy of the artist and GRIMM